Plaza ghosts reveal tale of working gals

Vignettes address Plaza Hotel’s hotbed of history

Sadie Forbes

Twisting the historical tales of sex trade, travellers and the Victoria Plaza Hotel, three Victoria feminists created the show Ghosts of the Plaza.

The 100-year-old hotel has a vibrant history and if the walls could talk, they’d have plenty of tales to tell.

“It’s a show that’s never been seen before. It’s a comedy and you’ll be entertained,” says Sadie Forbes, co-producer and co-writer. “It’s a working-class feminist perspective on one of Victoria’s most controversial spaces.”

The show includes elements of sex work, strippers, feminism and gangsters.

During the 1920s and 1930s hotels in Victoria hit a bit of financial slump and started doubling as brothels, says Forbes.

Ghosts of the Plaza was first imagined by the show’s co-producer and co-writer Sarah Smith. She worked in the hotel for nine years as a bartender, and studied the hotel’s history in the basement when she could.

When she heard the City of Victoria was offering grants for arts projects tied to specific addresses, such as the hotel at 642 Johnson St., the idea for the show was sparked.

Forbes was surprised the city decided to fund the project, “They knew the show would be sexy,” she says.

Although the production showcases the history of the Plaza Hotel, Ghosts of the Plaza is performed at the Odd Fellows Hall.

In lieu of paying to rent the venue, the producers are making a donation to PEERS Victoria Resource Society. PEERS provides support for former and current sex workers.

“We chose PEERS because of the hotel’s connection to sex work,” Forbes says, adding that even now Monty’s Showroom Pub, which features exotic dancers, operates out of the hotel.

Smith partnered with Forbes and Rosie Bitts to write and produce the production.

“We want to keep it in proper historical context,” Forbes says.

Both Bitts and Smith are burlesque dancers and they were able to incorporate that into the show due to the hotel’s early ties to the sex trade.

“Burlesque was the first form of stripping,” Forbes says.

Ghosts of the Plaza contains a series of six vignettes. The audience will travel through the venue and time during the show.

The first vignette begins in 1911 and by the time the show ends the audience is back in the present day.

There are some challenges with a travelling audience. “Timing is huge,” says Forbes. “Many of the actors are used to being on stage with bright lights and they can’t see the audience. Here they see their faces and their expressions.”

On Nov. 16 and 17, 23 and 24, shows will run twice nightly at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Matinees are at 4:30 p.m.

For more information go to GhostsofthePlaza.com or missrosiebitts.com/bestbittsproductions.

 

Just Posted

Mental health walk/run aims to outpace depression

Walk increased to 5k, run to 10k

Chaos at the ferry terminal for people heading from Vancouver to the Island

Easter crowds create backlog at Tsawwassen ferry terminal

Governing bodies accused of ‘destroying’ girls’ hockey by Island’s top team

When asked for advice hockey dad says ‘put your girls in soccer’

Guns could use smartphone-style fingerprint locks in near future

Startups looking to outflank traditional gun manufacturers using tech knowhow

Syrian violinist plays with new Canadian band at upcoming fundraiser

Sari Alesh played with the Symphony Orchestra in Syria for six years

WATCH: Movie star and PACE alum Calum Worthy talks musical theatre and his career

“American Vandal” and “Austin and Ally” actor has been returning to the program for over 20 years

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragments

Recalled products came in 1.7 kg packages with a best before date of Apr. 23, 2019

Parents of 13 who tortured children get life after hearing victims

One of their daughters fled their home and pleaded for help to a 911 operator

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Compensation for victims of recurring floods limit to 50% of a home’s value, or a maximum of $100,000

Storms blast South, where tornadoes threaten several states

9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia at a moderate risk of severe weather

Private cargo ship brings Easter feast to the space station

There are three Americans two Russians and one Canadian living on the space station

Notre Dame rector: “Computer glitch” possible fire culprit

The fire burned through the lattice of oak beams supporting the monument’s vaulted stone ceiling

Most Read